Friday, December 31, 2004

2005 Predictions

Being accused of a Prophetic Bent, I offer these Prognostications for the year (or years) ahead:

The weather cycle we are in will become more intense. If it’s global warming or if it’s a natural long-term cycle it will become more intense. Things will change noticeably in 2005. Man cannot do anything about this. I’m not sure he ever could have. Learn to go with the flow, it’s coming. If you have ever studied Kondratieff you will understand that the breakout has happened. There’s no turning back.

The price of Oil and the shortages that will happen will produce two effects:

1. In 2005 somewhere in North America a significant find or development of an old find will have a dampening effect on the price of Oil in the future. It may be unconventional

2. Intense research on alternative fuels will mean that a viable breakthrough will take place soon. I don’t think it will be announced in 2005 but I do think the breakthrough will happen in 2005. This will be a one for one reciprocating engine fuel. I believe it will involve a volatile hydrocarbon component linked for stability with either a water or alcohol carrier, which will be deconstructed thru a catalyst before it is combusted like gasoline. We will fill this in our tanks like gasoline but it will need this pre “burner” to make it all work. This new synthetic fuel will change everything. I know this; we will not freeze in the dark or park our 57 Chevies. You read it here first.

there will be changes in world leadership:

A new Pope (that’s an easy guess)
A new Vice President (I don’t think he can keep this up)
The election in Iraq will be held, but it will not hold.
A cleric will become the Country’s leader eventually
Kofi Annan will step down at the UN. I don’t know who will take his place.
Alan Greenspan will be replaced
Three Supreme Court Vacancies will occur

There will be an attempt on President Bush’s life. I hope it doesn’t happen. I sure hope it doesn’t succeed. But the Devil Hates our President. Pray for him.

A year from now it will become apparent that Iraq is going to make it. It will be expensive and bloody but in the end it will have been worth it. We will not leave the area in my lifetime. Much blood has bought us the right and mandate to take up permanent residence.

The Tsunami devastated area will rebuild and be better than ever. In fact tourism will triple. The net effect will be more prosperity than ever would have been possible before this disaster. A horrible price to pay but this too shall pass.

Inflation will kick in. The political will to stop it isn’t there. It will be double what it is now by the beginning of 2006.

Commodity Prices will drift down as they always do. The world’s ability to respond to commodity shortage thru production will put a cap on the temporary high prices in the market. Watch particularly cattle.

Studies of suspect nature will continue to tell us that coffee, red meat, and chocolate are GOOD/BAD for us. Ignore them. All things in as much moderation as you can stand is good advice.

Legislative Predictions:
Social Security Reform --- Limited, much more limited
Income Tax Reform --- This has a chance
CIA etc Reform ---- Conceptually OK, disastrous in execution
Education Reform ---- Slower than before

All in all, 2005 will on balance be a good year.

Have a happy one

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Christmas Jesus Tsunami

Christmas is wrapping up. Kevin leaves for Boston this morning. We made the trek back arriving late yesterday. I am back on my boring monotonous normal wonderful schedule again. I don’t do upheaval as well as I used to. Too much food, too much travel, too much of everything. I go tilt.

Upheaval. Hard to think of this and not think of the hundred thousand dead and their families abutting the Indian Ocean this morning. They have upheaval. My little life’s tilt is nothing.

I process slowly. Think before I speak (sometimes). A few thoughts:

Act of God, that’s what it’s called. Like God in a cosmic chess game makes a decision to wipe a hundred thousand off the face of the earth. I tend to be more theologically along the lines of a bumper sticker that was on the back of a lot of pickup trucks some years ago that loosely translated said “things happens”.

His disciples asked Jesus about a tower collapse that killed several people near the pool of Siloam (which they just found a couple weeks ago in Jerusalem). They wanted to know if those people were more sinful and that’s why God killed them. Jesus’ answer was: Things Happen! Just be careful that if it happens to you that you are ready. Sometimes we stub our toe and sometimes the earths crust shifts in a 9.0 magnitude and a hundred thousand people die. Things happen.

Compassion and giving is how we can respond. Best if it’s thru our church.

People’s response to incredible tragedy of this nature is predictable. Find someone to blame. This will mean the political landscape of the most devastated countries will change. Some not for the better.

There will be significant efforts to install a response and warning system for any future such events. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. It makes you feel better but it doesn’t really change things. In the USA everyone at top levels is convinced that somewhere sometime in a major metro area a nuclear device will be detonated for maximum neutronic pollution. (dirty bomb) Pop quiz. If you live in or near any of these areas what is your civil defense plan for this predicted event? About the same as Siri Lanka’s I’ll wager.

Then there will be the money thrown at the effort and no one will have done enough. It’s already begun. Much of that money will be wasted, siphoned off, graft, theft and lost. Good intentioned people will give to good intentioned NGO’s and it will be stolen. If you give, give to organizations that have the fear of God as part of their charter. Theft is less there.

People will ponder the if-onlys. It is delusion to live in a world that believes that things will get better if only. If only I had more money, if only I had a better job, if only I were (or weren’t) married, if only, if only, if only. Things on balance never do get better. They only change. All change is perceived as loss. ALL CHANGE! If we live our lives waiting to start living when things get better we miss life. Jesus said (I can’t help myself, I’m a preacher) in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world. Lots of people think that it means if you come to Jesus all your circumstances will improve. NOT! If you come to Jesus his presence in your life will overcome the pain of the tribulation you suffer. You will still suffer but you will do it with joy set before you. Peggy’s grandmother Ruth was ill most of the last years of her life. She lost both legs (amputated) from infection. But even in her last days bedridden she brought joy to the doctors and nurses who tended her. She had tribulation but Jesus in her overcame the tribulation.

If I could give a gift to the suffering from the tsunami I would do it by bringing the overcomer to them. It would be better if they had known it before. Now it seems a little contrived to rush in and thump our Bibles. When we hit the wall in tragedy we do so with the reality of God we possess. If we possess little we don’t have much to deal with.

So, in the Indian Ocean who sinned that this great Judgment was brought upon them by God? No one. But prepare yourself that you are ready for when life slaps you in the face too. The world’s bad news is Jesus is all there is; but the good news is, Jesus is all you need.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas is Hard Work

Every year I go thru the same emotions. Anticipation at seeing everyone, anticipation of the good things of the Christmas Season. I won't say (admit) I'm ever disappointed, but there are too many good things:
Too much food
Too many presents (incoming and outgoing) Too much TV (when did the NFL become the ordained methodology for spending Christmas eve and Christmas day)

And too few of the things I wish there was more of:
I love you's
Meaningful conversations about other than politics (as much as I love it)

All in all it's worth it all. The 1500 miles I'll end up putting on the Lesabre is worth it all. The memories made which become the raw material for later reminiscence are worth it. Even if I know better than to believe the Nativity was a Late Dec event, the fact that He came and will come again is reason enough to engage in the tradition with all it's pluses and minuses.

Sometimes I have an Ebenezer S. moment. Like when I'm sitting silent in a room full of people with a tree, little children and a TV regaling the last stand at the goal line that I want to stand up and say Bah Humbug.

However, God Bless Us EVERYONE!

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Sameness Virus

I have traveled all over the USA and in much of the rest of the world; we have infected the world with a virus that plagues the USA right now. All of our larger cities and towns look exactly alike. Fargo looks like Bismarck. Bloomington looks like Wichita, so does Little Rock, Spokane, Sioux Falls, Pittsburgh, Cleveland etcetera ad infinitum. Every mid-sized town in America looks exactly like it’s counterpart size-wise in North Dakota. I would hazard a guess that you could blindfold anyone, helicopter someone into the business district of any of these towns and that person wouldn’t have a clue where he is. He might not even know he left the town he was in.

Oh they all take a shot at creating some uniqueness. They all try to have an attraction or two that are exceptional. But, alas, to no good effect.

But, for the most part its McDonalds, KFC, Comfort Suites, Lowes, The Gap, Kohls, Bennigans, and so on. The sameness is slightly offset by any preservation of historic buildings built before the sameness virus set in. When I lived in Fargo Moorhead in the early 60s, the most interesting part of town was “Downtown”. Particularly Moorhead. It was seedy, fragmented, a little ragged, but unique, interesting and full of soul and character. It had a soul with a history that was just a little naughty. It was NOT the same as everywhere else.

Then, those who knew better ripped the soul out of these downtowns, replacing it with more sameness. They are prettier, cleaner, bland and empty today. The answer towns have now is tear down the old sameness and replace it with new sameness. Where are the creative architects of today? Astonish us. Make me go oooooo. Stop boring us with derivative glass.

I say all that to say this. In any state, particularly in North Dakota, the real interest is the uniqueness of the countryside and the uniqueness of the buildings left from the creative times of the late 1800’s thru the mid 1930’s. The uniqueness of the open country with features and character that only a person who grew up here can appreciate. And when pointed out to others can cause them to say WOW.

As the quest to find new ways to reach out to new people to come to North Dakota proceeds it will require ways to showcase the outdoor benefits of the state. Take a look at the attitudes that have to change to do this. When it comes to making the state inviting we have seen the enemy and he is us. Check out this outdoors post below. Inviting isn't it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


It’s almost time for the grand trek north to Dakota. Kevin came in, we shopped (no real rush you know) and all is well.

Of course a few days ago I had to go hunting with my car, Deer hunting. And I bagged one. A nice doe. But, Buick Bullets are really expensive. The body shop has seen me twice in the last 2 years after one of these hunting expeditions.

But, dents and all, the Buick is a mighty beast and it will make the full distance.

I will try to find a computer and offer Christmas observations along the way.

The whole family 50 or so will gather on Christmas Eve at the Redlins. What a spectacle. It’s Norman Rockwell meets Terry Redlin. If it weren’t so traditional it would be a bit much.

I will proceed to download a rural economic development concept 3 times per week during the whole ND legislative session. If we don’t try, nothing will happen.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Does Everyone Wait??

I just returned from an expedition out of the house. I went to a town 15 miles away. Every parking lot, every road, was jammed. All last minute shoppers.

Don't those people read a calendar?? Christmas isn't for 4 more days. There's lots of time yet. I mean, I've just started.

I hear all about the recession, nobody has any money.

Maybe it's all on plastic.

Or maybe, they are all out shoplifting for Christmas this year.

Take the Christ out of Christmas and what does it matter.


Beware the Dirt Desert

This year the Nebraska state fair went belly up. It didn't even seem unusual anymore. All up and down the western states, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota from an area 50 miles west of thier eastern borders to the front range of the rockies there has been encroaching as certain as the sands of the Sahara, a Dirt Desert which features a few nice oases (cities) spaced about 100 on average miles apart and lots of little dying outposts (towns) located in between.

The occupants of this desert seem to be unaware of this outcome. Some government policy encourages this migration to the metro at the expense of the territories.

They write it off as "Buffalo Commons". For those who might not be aware of this nomenclature, The area where 150 years ago the buffalo roamed free is returning to its natural state. No people, a land of empty houses, and buffalo. BUFFALO COMMONS.

I don't' agree. I am engaged in a personal battle to help reverse this trend thru education, legislation, renewal of a backbone in those who have given up and uncovering the opprotunities that exist inherant in the land.

These opprotunities might not be unwrapped by today inhabitants. It might take a new breed of people who do not now occupy and possess the land.

The issue is the political will to solve this. Government types have already given up. It's an unwritten attitude which results in defacto policy to give up, those areas shouldn't be occupied anyway. The state (city states really) would be better served if the people living there demanding some level of service were simply exported off the land. Buffalo Commons.

Let's take it back.

I have much to say on this. This raging against the machine of apathy and hopelessness will go on for a long time to come. Join the battle. It's worth the fight.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Ok, Here Goes

I am not the most technically skilled.

But I try,

Now, I have succeeded, Maybe.

I promise not to bore you too much. I promise to do my best to God and My Country, to Obey the Scout Law, Wait, that's another pledge.

It only took me 4 hours to get this far.

Have mercy on me.